10/10/2005 12:00AM

Intercontinental wires WinStar Galaxy Stakes

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Bill Straus
Intercontinental ($3.60) wins the Grade 2, WinStar Galaxy Stakes at Keeneland on Sunday.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Continuing to prove she is one of the elite female turf milers in the country, Intercontinental won Sunday's $400,000, Grade 2 at Keeneland by three-quarters of a length over a hard-charging Wend.

Breaking alertly under Jerry Bailey, she went to the early lead, and unlike in past races, settled for her rider. Racing uncontested in the early part of the race, she carved out slow fractions of 24.77 seconds, 48.82 and 1:12.72, and had enough left in the stretch to repel stretch bids from third-place Katdogawn and runner-up Wend.

Last year's Matriarch winner, Intercontinental raced a mile on a firm but slow turf course in 1:37.40, paying $3.60 as the favorite in the field of nine. The race marked the first time the Galaxy had been run at the mile distance.

Bailey said the key to the race was the start. By breaking alertly she was able to go to the lead and relax, as opposed to growing rank behind horses - which had happened to the headstrong filly in past races. "Without any problems, I thought she would win," he said.

Wend, winner of the Grade 2 New York Handicap at Belmont this summer, raced wide around both turns and had to rally behind the slow early pace after a poor start. The break "was too much to overcome to pass the winner," jockey John Velazquez said.

Winless beyond 1 1/16 miles, Intercontinental is not expected to race in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, a 1.25-mile race. Winning trainer Bobby Frankel said Intercontinental would was likely to make her next start in the Nov. 27 Matriarch Stakes at Hollywood Park, or in a stakes race in Hong Kong. He said 2005 is likely to be her last year of racing.

Intercontinental, a 5-year-old daughter of Danehill, won for the twelfth time in 21 starts. She has made over $1.5 million for her owner/breeder, Juddmonte Farms.

Her victory earned Juddmonte a prized gold tray for their eighth graded stakes victory at Keeneland. Juddmonte is one of only 14 owners to have accomplished that achievement.